Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Looting Update

FreeRepublic is reporting that armed looters have taken over Tulane Medical Center, one of New Orleans' largest hospitals, taken the staff hostage and started shooting it out with the National Guard.

The junkies are turning savage since most of them haven't had a fix in three or four days.

Let's be honest about it, since the MSM won't: the vast majority of these looters come from the poor black underclass, kept in dependence by the welfare system aided and abetted by cynical liberal politicians, black and white, who profit from racial and class demagoguery.

They've been told from day one that "The Man" is keeping them down, and now that they have a chance to get back at "The Man", they're taking it.

This is no time for politically correct sensitivities to get in the way. Shoot any looter on sight, black, white, or pink polka dotted. They're creating worse disorder and threatening the lives of defenceless people.

Once the police or National Guard take out a few, the rest will get the message, and people can get on with rebuilding New Orleans.

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 17

One invaluable benefit of the CBC lockout during Hurricane Katrina is that we don't have to hear reporters blame the Americans for bringing the disaster on themselves.

For those who believe that George Bush ordered the Pentagon to deploy their top-secret weather control satellites to take the media's attention off Cindy Sheehan, or as an excuse to exercise vast new dictatorial powers under the Patriot Act, or to take the heat off for not ratifying Kyoto, there's always these guys, these guys, or if you absolutely positively need a 100% Canadian perspective, these guys.

In more directly related news, CBC and CMG are holding their first talks since the lockout began. One wonders whether the upcoming fall season and the return of Hockey Night in Canada is forcing management back to the table.

Maclean's Steve Maich points out the real problem behind the CBC lockout: even if it were settled tomorrow, it would do nothing to resolve CBC's inability to decide whether it's a nonprofit public interest broadcaster or a commercial network.

His recommendation: reorganize CBC along the lines of TVO or PBS:

It's time for the CBC to finally resolve the identity crisis that Rabinovitch identified five years ago. Dump the big money-makers and the biggest money-losers, and focus on the vast public service elements in-between. That's the recipe that turned CBC Radio from a relic into the thriving operation it is today. There would still be room, and money, to produce specials like Trudeau, A People's History and even a few topical shows like Rick Mercer's Report. But there would be no more pouring money into failed commercial projects, and no more pre-empting the news for months to accommodate the NHL playoffs. At last, the CBC would be focused, stable and respected.

I don't know about respected, but at least its biases will be more tolerable if the taxpayers aren't footing most of the bill.

As for focused and stable? There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth once CBC is weaned off the taxpayer teat from the usual suspects, but CBC will survive, perhaps even thrive, as a 100% Canadian public interest broadcaster.


Hurricane Katrina has lain New Orleans waste, and now comes that vile species of predator to feast upon its remains: the looter.

The looter is among the lowest of common criminals, not merely because he is a thief, but because he steals from those whom tragedy has left dispossessed. He is too cowardly even to face his victims.

When there is work to be done to rebuild a devastated city, he thinks only of his own greed.

He pretends to enrich himself with the luxuries of others.

He takes up arms against those whose duty it is to uphold law and order when they are most endangered.

He attacks the most defenceless of citizens to satisfy his cravings.

In a few days, what he steals will be worthless to him, for he will neither be able to consume it once it spoils, nor will he be able to sell it where there is no one to buy.

This creature who gorges himself on the carcass of a dying city is beneath contempt. The only defence against him is to shoot him dead wherever you find him, so that the rest of his kind will be chastened or flee.

Supreme Suggestions

How many of you can name a distinguished barrister with at least 10 years service at the bar or an equally distinguished judge of the provincial or territorial superior courts as defined under s.96 of the Constitution Act?

No, not the guy who got your drunken brother-in-law off on a DUI. Not the one who did your rich uncle's will, either. And forget about the judge who stuck you with support payments to that greedy bitch of an ex-wife.

Other than that, if you can think of somebody whom the government of the day might consider eminently qualified to sit on the Supreme Court of Canada, Irwin Cotler would like you to drop a note in the suggestion box.

All entries will be loaded into a shredder, then burned and the ashes scattered to the four winds, but your opinion still is important to him. Really.

Source: Globe and Mail

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Keep Your Stick On The Ice

Red Green has been awarded the Order of Canada!

And no finer recipient this award could have.

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 16

Locking out the announcers and cameramen has done wonders for the CFL ratings:they've nearly doubled!

What need is there of inane chatter from announcers and endless slo-mos and replays from every possible camera angle? It almost becomes a form of broadcast masturbation, pleasuring the network people, but adding nothing to the game.

The migration of locked-out CBC broadcasters to campus radio stations might relieve the cravings of CBC addicts, but the CRTC takes a much dimmer view of the matter according to its broadcast licence conditions:

Conditions for community-based campus, instructional campus and developmental campus radio stations


3. The licensee shall not affiliate with or disaffiliate from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation without the prior written approval of the Commission.

While the CBC's employees are locked out and not performing their usual employment duties for CBC, does this provision continue to apply to them?

Moreover, why are campus radio stations rolling over for the CBC hacks? Could it be that they're hoping to generate more advertising revenue by raising their ratings off the bottom with the prestige and listenership that these people's broadcasts will bring?

Every hour turned over to the CBC people is an hour taken away from a volunteer broadcaster hoping to gain valuable broadcasting experience. As unlistenable as campus radio may be, it is a service primarily for and by the students, and it should left to the students.

The Gay Adulterer

When is an extramarital affair not adultery? When it's a homosexual affair!

Shelly Pickering thinks it is unfair that her husband's extramarital affair with a man doesn't legally count as adultery. So today, she's heading to court in Vancouver to challenge the law.

The 44-year-old Vancouver resident had been married nearly 17 years when, in October of 2004, she discovered her husband was having an affair with a younger man.

She and her husband separated immediately and she filed for divorce two months later, seeking an immediate end to their union.

Canada's Divorce Act allows for a no-fault divorce after a one-year separation, on grounds of marital breakdown.

It also allows for an immediate divorce if there is admitted or proven adultery or cruelty.


The traditional definition of adultery, which dates back to church-based courts in England, is "penetrative sexual contact between a man and a woman not married to each other and one of whom is married to someone else," notes Ms. Pickering's lawyer, barbara findlay (who spells her name in lower-case letters).

Ms. findlay argues that the definition of adultery is as outdated as the original common-law definition of marriage, which was based on procreation. Times have changed, along with the definition of marriage, and so too should the definition of adultery, she said.

Once the central element of marriage has been redefined in law, redefinition of its corollary elements and offences against marriage become logically inevitable.

Homosexuals wanted the rights of civil marriage. Do they also want the responsibility of monogamy?

Given that sexual encounters with multiple partners form the general pattern of male homosexual conduct, a conduct that is central to homosexual identity, might it not be argued that redefining adultery to include homosexual conduct would itself be discriminatory?

Not a few homosexual commentators seem to think so.

If the concept of adultery is alien to homosexual conduct, it's probably more likely than not that it would be removed as a ground for divorce under a Charter challenge. And under s.15, the same removal of adultery as a ground for divorce would have to apply to heterosexuals as well, for to do otherwise would unfairly privilege homosexuals in law.

Unfaithful husbands of the world, rejoice!

Source: Globe and Mail

Monday, August 29, 2005


Somebody has signed Paul Martin's name to the appointment of Francis Fox to the Senate.

His flirtation with relieving the democratic deficit has now been aborted.

Source: CBC

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 15

Jonathan Fortier's argument that Canadian culture existed before the CBC and will survive after its demise is not new, nor surprising.

What's new and surprising is that it appeared in theToronto Star, of all places.

Are Canadians so weak and so lacking in initiative that we would stop telling our stories if the CBC closed its doors? Were we not Canadians before the very appearance of the CBC in the 1930s? Did we suddenly become Canadians when we started watching and listening to government funded programs?

Human beings have told stories and reflected on important (and not so important) topics for millennia and Canadians are no different. Gathered around the fire or on screened porches, in canoes and around the hockey rink, Canadians have developed a distinctive voice of their own. We certainly don't need a cadre of self-proclaimed cognoscenti to take our money and then tell us how to tell our stories.

The CBC's most ardent defenders seem to think that Canadians are ignorant children who need CBC to tell their stories for them, and are incapable of choosing between wholesome Canadian programming instead of evil right-wing corporate American broadcasting.

Canadian viewers are no less informed, nor more suspect to manipulation, than their counterparts anywhere else in the world. If American viewers won't watch their own dreck that's foisted on them, why would Canadian viewers?

Locked-out CBC staff are producing the two most popular podcasts in Canada, on their own initiative, without one cent of the taxpayers' money. There's a message in that for everyone at CBC, if they're not too obtuse to understand it.

Signs that the union rank and file are cracking up:

An online producer broke down crying in a foetal position after an unsuccessful attempt at carpet cleaning.

One reporter has turned to doing useful work for a change, sewing curtains.

Yet another CBC staffer is blogging about the bizarre dreams he had last night.

Are these people doing less harm to us and themselves blogging about their lockout-induced neuroses than by doing the devil's work at the CBC? I wonder.

Early Recall

The softwood lumber tariff dispute might bring Parliament back in session early to debate the matter.

Debate the matter, that is, but not actually do anything about it.

Paul Martin needs a campaign issue to rally people round the Liberals once more for its rightful majority, and there's nothing like a little Yankee-bashing to do it.

The Liberals can't re-run the 2004 election strategy of demonizing the unknown Stephen Harper and his equally unknown Conservative Party as the harbingers of a radical right-wing hidden agenda. The moderate centre-right agenda is out in the open and Stephen Harper is now a known quantity, respected, though not loved, by Canadians as a whole.

So they're going to re-run the 1988 election by playing on groundless 200-year old fears of an American takeover because of free trade, and cast the Tories as puppets of Uncle Sam.

But this is not 1988. Both major parties support free trade and NAFTA, at least in principle. Both oppose the Americans' refusal to honour the NAFTA ruling and continue imposing punitive duties on softwood lumber.

However, the basest of anti-American hatred has moved from the periphery to the centre of the Liberal Party and its core constituencies. Softwood lumber will just be one line in the litany of complaints against the United States.

The Liberals are not running against the Conservatives; they're running against the United States.

Source: Globe and Mail

Know When To Fold 'Em

What would you do if you gambled away your life savings at the casino?

a) Declare bankruptcy
b) Stop going to the casino
c) Keep gambling until you hit the jackpot
d) Sue the casino owners

This man answered d).

In three years, Paul Burrell gambled away nearly $500,000 of his life-savings at Casino Nova Scotia.

Yet the former Cape Breton coal miner says he was never once approached by staff at the casino in Sydney, N.S., even though provincial law requires them to bar problem gamblers from the premises.

Day after day, week after week, between January 2000 and February 2003, he sat in front of the slot machines at the casino, where the staff let him keep on playing and losing, even though it was clear he was addicted.

He later lodged a complaint with the Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming Authority, the agency that enforces the casino regulations, but it was dismissed.

Burrell's banking machine receipts show he gambled away a $200,000 worker's compensation settlement, family savings of $80,000 and roughly $200,000 from his remortgaged house and personal loans.

It's much easier for a bartender to spot a drunk and cut him off than it is for a croupier to figure out who's gambling away his life savings and refuse his bets. The bartender knows what a drunk driver can do. The croupier doesn't know whether 20 grand is a high roller's pocket change or his daughter's college fund.

Casino operators do not have a social conscience and no one should expect otherwise from the sharks who run them. The business is all about taking big risks for the big payoff; it's up to the gambler to look at his own bank balance and personal responsibilities to decide whether he should take them.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Apocalypse N.O.

The U.S. National Weather Service prediction of death and destruction unequalled in any other American natural disaster might simply be hyperbole to scare even the most foolhardy of persons out of New Orleans.

Let's pray that it comes to no more than that.

Because better that the Weather Service be embarrassed for a while by hysteria, than to be the cause of thousands of deaths because it didn't sound the warning in time.

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 14

Voices of despair rise in a chorus across the land as a fortnight without CBC takes its toll on its loyal listeners:

Helen White from Guelph, ON: "It has been a real blow in recent days to realize how dependant I am on the CBC and how lost I feel without it."

Carol Trainor in Toronto, ON: "I miss waking up to Andy Barrie and The Current, and going to sleep to Between the Covers."

Heather Menzies in Ottawa, ON: "I am feeling locked out of my own country, my own society and culture by the CBC lockout."

A quick scan of various editorial pages reveals a trend that CBC On The Line is replicating: the bulk of the letters to the editor from viewers and listeners who miss CBC's regular programming are from women. Any ideas why?

CTV pours salt into CBC's wounds with a Decima poll confirming that the CBC lockout is passing almost unnoticed by the public:

Ten per cent of respondents to the Decima survey said the labour dispute at the public broadcaster is "a major inconvenience" while 27 per cent called it "a minor inconvenience.'"

Sixty-one per cent reported no impact at all.


About one in four people said they were watching or listening to CBC less since the dispute began, says the Decima survey, which is considered accurate to within 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Those who said they were most inconvenienced by the lockout tended to be Liberal and NDP voters or older people, the poll found. Most other respondents said they had not been affected.

Scott Reid and David Herle must be breaking out into hives at these numbers. The longer the lockout continues, the greater the possibility becomes of an election during which CBC will be hors de combat. Without the CBC to keep Liberal voters in line with at least the daily two minutes hate against Stephen Harper, the Liberals will have to lean that much harder on all other media outlets to preach the true and living gospel.

Let's hope that they don't come back until the day after the election. Watching the CBC announce the news of a Conservative victory that they were powerless to prevent will be a glorious moment indeed.

Stand Up For Canada

Stephen Harper is taking the Tories' new campaign slogan to heart:

Federal Conservative Leader Stephen Harper called U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins' comments on the softwood lumber dispute "out of line" Saturday.

In an interview with an Ottawa newspaper published Friday, Mr. Wilkins raised the ire of some politicians, including the prime minister, after he called upon Canadian politicians to stop their "emotional tirades" and negotiate a settlement.

Canada objected strenuously after Washington announced it would ignore a NAFTA ruling on softwood lumber in Canada's favour.

"I think the U.S. ambassador is way out of line," said Mr. Harper, who attended a Ukrainian Festival parade in Toronto on Saturday with Edmonton MP Peter Goldring.

"But a big part of the reason this has happened is the Liberal government has allowed communications with the Americans to break down entirely."

It's not just our forestry sector that stands to pay the price for years of cavalier insults and slurs issuing forth from Liberal ranks. Now when we really need to take on the Americans for their refusal to honour NAFTA, our position is weakened, because it looks like just another bit of petulant anti-American whining.

Source: Globe and Mail

Yankee Go Home

The Liberal Party's swing to the left has revealed the latent anti-Americanism that motivates its left wing. Carolyn Parrish's antics, while making for colourful television imagery, merely reflected something far more dangerous not only for the Liberal Party, but also for the country as a whole.

If there was any running theme to the Liberals' big summer gatherings in the West, it revolved around what seems to be a simmering antipathy to the U.S. Are Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberals becoming anti-American?

Of course, much of the current invective stems from the incendiary U.S. decision this month to flout the NAFTA panel ruling in favour of Canada in the ongoing softwood lumber dispute. This has Liberals' blood boiling and there was no mistaking the anger radiating from all quarters and all levels in the government.

By yesterday, in fact, in reaction to provocative comments on the issue by U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins, Liberal cabinet ministers were using words such as "bully" and "hypocrite" to talk about Canada's neighbour to the south.

But it's also true that the undercurrent of antipathy toward Americans appears to be rippling beyond trade and bubbling under other issues, too.

Liberal MPs who were seized with this summer's gun violence in Toronto, for instance, were murmuring darkly about the U.S. gun culture, not to mention its guns, finding its way into the peaceable Canadian kingdom.

Even the very domestic concern of the CBC labour dispute, which has thrown 5,500 journalists and technicians off the job, provoked a jab or two at the Americans. Heritage Minister Liza Frulla and Ottawa MP Marlene Catterall were talking about the need to protect the public broadcaster's future as a way to ensure that this country didn't end up with the broadcasting culture we see in the U.S.

There's always been a streak of anti-Americanism in Canadian politics. One might say English Canada exists because of the original anti-Americans, the United Empire Loyalists. Or rather, anti-American Revolutionaries. Confederation might never have come to pass had it not been for fears that the U.S. Army, fresh off its victory over the rebellious Confederacy, might train its guns on British North America to establish American hegemony from the Far North to the Rio Grande.

But the days of manifest destiny and the anti-British sentiment which fuelled American annexationist rhetoric are more than a century past. The United States is no more interested in adding additional states to the Union than it is in restoring Saddam Hussein's regime.

Current anti-American rhetoric springs from the more poisonous wells of envy and resentment; envy towards its position in the world and resentment of its strength and self-confidence.

The United States enjoys a self-confidence about its national identity that has been forged in the crucible of revolution, civil war and wars fought in the defence of its ideals, even when it falls short of living up to them.

Canada, stripped by decades of social engineering of pride in its history and accomplishments prior to about 1965, now seems less than the sum of its parts, a collection of squabbling provinces whose collective self-interest in some sort of unity is only slightly stronger than its resentments towards each other.

All that is left to unite it is opposition to the Other, the need to be not American. It matters not whether America is on the side of the angels or the devils, as long as Canada is not on its side.

One cannot continually identify oneself as not the Other. What happens if the Other is not there?

If the United States were to disappear tomorrow, wherewith would Canada derive its identity?

Source: Toronto Star

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Out Of Business

Karla Homolka's boss at the hardware store she was clerking at has been forced to close up shop, sending chills down the spines of franchisees and chain store managers everywhere:

Karla Homolka's former boss is paying the price for his 15 minutes of fame.

Earlier this week, Richer Lapointe announced that Homolka had worked at his hardware store and that he was planning to move to her hometown, St. Catharines, Ont.

On Friday, however, Rona Inc. said it was closing down Lapointe's store in a Montreal suburb and added he wouldn't be relocating to a Rona store in St. Catharines.

"We're certainly trying to prevent getting dragged into this," Daniel Larouche told The Globe and Mail.

The home improvement giant doesn't want its business to be hurt by the negative publicity surrounding Homolka and the store, he said.

I'm wondering if Lapointe wasn't looking for something more than a quick buck off his Homolka tapes. Moving to her hometown suggests he was having more than just an employment relationship with her.

Source: CTV

Dead Air

The Cabinet panders to the Can-Con cultural industry yet again: it's pulling the plug on satellite radio.

On June 16, the broadcast regulator granted satellite radio licences to Sirius -- a consortium of the CBC and Standard Radio -- and Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR).

Sirius and CSR both plan to offer subscribers between 60 and 100 commercial-free music channels for $15 to $20 a month.The services are licensed to carry nine foreign channels for every Canadian channel.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission also licensed CHUM and Astral to deliver pay radio via a ground-based digital network.

The decisions upset many in the Quebec artistic community, which complained that only 10 per cent of the services will be Canadian, and only 2.5 per cent will be francophone.

Appeasing the artsy-fartsy crowd in Quebec--every man Jacques of them separatist--seems to be the bizarre political strategy Paul Martin is following to bring the Liberals in Quebec back from the brink of death.

It's produced the Michaelle Jean fiasco; now it's about to stem the tide of broadcast technology in Canada for about ten minutes.

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 13

An anonymous CBC picketer discusses the eight stages of striking, as explained by a teacher's union member channelling the soul of the late Elizabeth Kuebler-Ross.

CBC goes on fulfilling one of the core functions that makes it absolutely indispensible to the Canadian identity: building condos in Vancouver!

Just as locked-out NHL stars pushed out journeymen players in the European leagues, so the stars of Toronto's Metro Morning are about to push out a few campus radio volunteers.

CBC broadcasters sure have a high opinion of themselves, don't they? Some of them think they can bully campus radio stations into giving them airtime, as though they have some God-given (or Charter-given, for agnostics, atheists, and Liberals) right to broadcast.

"Listen, you little squirts! Nobody gives a damn if Sitar Stars or Mao Now never air again! But people want their Andy Barrie fix! You ever want to work for us, you give us three hours in the morning! Got it?"

Maybe Not So Ironic

Christie Blatchford has uncovered the background of "anti-gun activist" Delroy Daring, who was gunned down in broad daylight two days ago.

Far from being a fine upstanding citizen and pillar of the community, Mr. Daring, it appears, was a career criminal and libertine:

First of all, he had a significant criminal record that spanned a decade, beginning in 1986 when he was but 22 and one of those arrested in a major-for-its-time narcotics bust (four people were charged after an eight-month investigation into the sale of marijuana, hashish and cocaine in Scarborough) that even made one of the local papers.

By the time of his last conviction, in 1996, Mr. Daring had acquired a total of seven criminal convictions, six for drugs (both for possession and possession for the purpose of trafficking) and one for assault with a weapon.

Now to be fair, in the intervening years, it is of course possible Mr. Daring turned his life around, and developed a distaste for the criminal life.

However, there is little beyond the barbecue and the T-shirts to suggest this, and the fact that at the time of his death, he was carrying 13 “dime” bags of marijuana — an amount that could be interpreted as being either for his personal use or for selling — hints that this rehabilitation, if it was under way, was hardly complete.

Neither, I think, could Mr. Daring be put forward as a candidate for father-of-the-year.

His 10 children are apparently shared among four different so-called “baby mothers,” one of whom lives near the complex where he was shot and killed. Unless he led a quadruple life, it is probably safe to say that there are not enough hours in the day to have allowed him, or anyone else for that matter, to be an involved and faithful parent to children spread out among so many disparate households.

Puts quite a different complexion on the whole sad affair, doesn't it? Instead of the martyrdom of a selfless citizen in the line of civic duty, we have just one low-life being shot by another low-life.

We shouldn't be so quick to canonize all gang shooting victims, because many of them could just as easily have been the shooters as the shot.

Friday, August 26, 2005

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 12

This is getting as boring as the NHL lockout.

Nothing much new to report, except that CBC management claims that the Canadian Media Guild is telling less than the whole truth about the number of outstanding issues at stake.

Just as NHL lockout coverage ended up focussed on the salary cap to the virtual exclusion of all other issues, so has the CBC lockout coverage focussed on contract workers, when there are these other outstanding issues to be resolved:

Workforce Adjustment and Demonstrated Occupational Qualifications
Programming Commitment
Contracting Out/Sale of Business
Technological Change
Work Week / Hours of Work / Overtime
Hiring & Promotion
Salary Provisions
Job Evaluation
Temporary Employees
Corporation Seniority
Training and Professional Development
Producers' Authority

On second reading, it looks like the CBC is taking one issue (contract workers) and categorizing all its related sub-issues as separate issues to make the CMG look even more intransigent than it already is.

If this sort of inside baseball fascinates you, click on the links above.

Otherwise, I don't think the fate of the Dominion turns on such recondite issues.

UPDATE: I was wondering about the people who, instead of raising the red flag, baked cupcakes to show solidarity with the lumpen proletariat of the CBC.

The cupcake ladies seem like nice, sincere folk, even if the object of their sincerity is misplaced.

I am afraid to imagine what Canada would be like without the CBC. I think, like many of your listeners, I count on CBC radio to connect me with parts of Country I am separated from. Gzowski was practically off the air when I started tuning in but the lady he interviewed walking around the chicken farm will always seem like my friend. And I have only ever been on a real farm once. Sometimes I listen to the news online in the Yukon because I have never been to Northern Canada and love to hear about that world.

Fear not, mesdames. If the CBC were to disappear tomorrow, there would still be a myriad of ways to keep connected with the rest of our great and glorious Dominion.

But their attitude is one that does not bode well for the continued survival of Canada. If our national identity is so weak that changes to a couple of government services such as the CBC and medicare imperil it, then perhaps it does not deserve to survive.

Is Canada a people with a government, or a government with a people?

Toronto The Worse

Joe Warmington's Sun column paints a picture of Toronto that those of us who have to live here see every day, wish they didn't, but that no one seems to have the guts to do anything about:

When it comes to the look of downtown Toronto these days, does anybody care?

There is a so-called homeless guy sleeping on Yonge St. with his hand straight out ready for change.

It can't be easy keeping your palm open -- ready for any coins that may drop -- in between snores.

Meanwhile, lots of sections of our great city have become a cesspool.

You know it's true. The sad part of crime is it all starts with what they call low-level stuff. Break and enters and stolen property, etc. You don't even report that stuff to the police anymore.

There's no point.

The problem is when you ignore that stuff, you've already given the criminals room to move. Welcome to Toronto.

Our governing classes do nothing because those of them who haven't already moved to the suburbs really couldn't care less what happens outside their safe little corners of the Annex and Rosedale.

Getting tough on crime and attacking its real causes isn't a priority for them, because they can afford to live far away from them.

Far cheaper to buy off the plebs with promises of increased social spending and amenities--bread and circuses--than actually do something. Like put extra cops on the beat, on foot and out of their cars. Or crack down on petty crime and vagrancy before it encourages others to escalate to bigger crimes. Or smash the gangs with speedy arrests, trials, and deportations.

They can live with their smug self-image as residents of the most enlightened, diverse and tolerant multicultural city on Earth, because they can afford not to have reality intrude upon it.

Those of us who have to run the gauntlet of vagrants begging for spare change on the way to work--who can't use bus shelters because some bum is squatting in it and has pissed all over the seats--who can't let their kids run around in the local park in the evening because of the heroin addicts shooting up and the homosexuals seeking thrills in the bushes--don't have that luxury.

Return Of The Native

Michael Ignatieff joins University of Toronto faculty.

Unfortunately for Dr. Ignatieff, the prime ministerial trial balloon has already sunk without trace. Not even Earnscliffe and the CBC combined could sell Canadians on the idea of a Harvard professor who hasn't lived here for nearly 30 years as Canada's next greatest prime minister ever.

Foreign Affairs will be opening up once Pierre Pettigrew and his fabulous hairdo retire. And he has his pick of safe seats in Toronto to run in.

But too bad for him that he'll be coming back home to sit on the opposition backbenches!

Truth In Advertising

Source: Hamilton Spectator

Irony Of The Day

No good deed goes unpunished:

TORONTO - A father was gunned down last night in the same Scarborough apartment building courtyard where he weeks ago staged a ''Stop-the-Violence'' barbecue, residents said.

The shooting of the man -- identified by friends as Delroy, but known as ''Sploogle'' -- happened just before 7 p.m. on the basketball courts of an apartment building at 3181 Eglinton Avenue East, near Markham Road.


The man, who did not want to identify himself, said Delroy used to live in the building outside of which the shooting occurred. He immigrated to Canada from Kingston, Jamaica, several years ago and had 10 children, the man said.

The family lived in the nearby Lawrence Avenue and Markham Road area.

Delroy was known for being generous with area children, fixing bikes and breaking up fights.

In the past few years, Delroy has staged a summer barbecue in the building's courtyard, which is shared with two other buildings. Hundreds of people turned up for the event this month.

He recruited sponsors, offered hot dogs and gave away gifts, which had been donated, to children. He even had T-shirts made that said ''Stop the Violence'' on them, the friend said.

The recent violence on Toronto's streets provided further motivation for Delroy, he said.

Do you get the impression that Delroy was dead man walking because of his prominent public opposition to the Jamaican gangs' reign of terror in his community?

Source: National Post

Thursday, August 25, 2005

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 11

The collective intelligence of a picket line can be determined by taking the IQ of its least intelligent member and dividing it by 10.

In that vein, I bring you a sample of photos of locked-out CBC employees on the picket lines, courtesy of The CBC Lockout 2005 Flickr Group.

Actual caption: Rita Celli thought this was the epitomization of CBC diversity.


Dress-up day.

Cupcakes for the working class? What would the Wobblies have thought?

Don't tell Mum I work for the CBC; she thinks I play piano in a whorehouse.

Gomery Inquiry: You Be The Judge

Mr. Justice John Gomery wants to hear from you, the ordinary Canadian taxpayer, to answer a few simple questions:

1. Should government advertising and sponsorship programs be insulated from
political influence?


If so, how?

2. What protections should be afforded to public servants who believe they have
witnessed impropriety in the management of government programs

3. Ministerial responsibility requires that a minister be accountable to the House
of Commons for the exercise of power. Should there be exceptions to the
concept of full ministerial responsibility for all the actions of a department?


If so, under what circumstances?

4. Accountability is the requirement to explain and accept responsibility for
carrying out an assigned mandate in light of agreed upon expectations. What
would you do to promote greater accountability for the management and use of
public funds?

5. Should the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service be linked to specific
responsibility and accountability processes to safeguard against


If so, how?

Should this be enshrined in legislation?


6. Is there anything else you would suggest to Justice Gomery in pursuing his

None of the public's response will actually affect the substance of Mr. Justice Gomery's recommendations, except to add a few colourful quotes underscoring public outrage and concern.

Few people have the requisite expert knowledge of public administration and the concept of ministerial responsibility to make anything more than vague suggestions to "tighten the law" or "hold people accountable".

But he has at least given the appearance of considering the public's opinion about Adscam and how to fix the system.

Paul Martin, other than his 30-day election guarantee, hasn't even done that.

Have your say at the Gomery Commission website.

Crime Fighter

Finally! The Tories take leadership on an issue that they own!

Harper Announces Conservative Party’s Task Force on Safe Streets and Healthy Communities

If the public transit tax credit failed to move Toronto voters, this issue just might.

People are mad as hell here about the latest rash of shootings and Mayor Miller's fatuous responses to it. Everybody knows what the main problem is--Jamaican gangs--but our civic leaders are too damn politically correct to come out and say it lest they be branded racists.

Blaming the Americans and calling for armouries to store hunting rifles in just doesn't cut it anymore, even among the champagne socialist set in the Annex who wet their designer culottes in fear at the mere mention of "gun" or "Stephen Harper".

Everyone can see the image of Toronto as a squeaky-clean, peaceful, tolerant, diverse multicultural metropolis (New York run by the Swiss, as the late Sir Peter Ustinov put it) is false, the Potemkin village of Trudeaupia. You just have to take a stroll down Queen Street west of Spadina or Sherbourne & Dundas to see Toronto's malignant underbelly. Or make one's way past the vagrants anywhere.

Crime isn't just something that happens in Jane-Finch, Parkdale, or Regent Park. All of Toronto takes the hit in the public image, and if we don't do something about, Toronto will be mentioned in the same tones of fear and loathing as Detroit.

Your Call Is Important To Us

When will Paul Martin speak to George Bush about the decision to ignore the NAFTA ruling against U.S. duties on Canadian softwood exports?

After he's finished jetting around to fundraisers on the taxpayers' dime?

As soon as he thanks Eric Clapton for sticking up for him against Bono and Bob Geldof on foreign aid?

Once he's done washing his hair, maybe?

Or maybe he realizes that his government has insulted its biggest trading partner once too often, and that he'll get the back of the hand for his efforts? Our forestry industry is going to pay the price for years of casual insults and opposition to the war on Islamic terror.

But who cares if a few loggers lose their jobs in defence of Canadian values? It's not like they'd vote Liberal in the B.C. interior, anyway.

Source: CTV

Majority Report

David Herle thinks the Liberals can pull off a majority government without Quebec for the first time in Canadian history.

Yesterday, Mr. Herle spent nearly two hours briefing the national caucus on election readiness. He did not present polling numbers.

Rather, he gave an extensive overview, saying they are now in a "pre-writ period" in anticipation of a February election.

He said, according to a source, that in the last election Canadians wanted a minority government but this time, he said, they now seem to want a majority government.

He predicted the Liberals could win between eight and 10 seats in the Prairies and make "real gains" in Ontario, said the sources.

The Liberals now occupy three of 14 seats in Manitoba, one of 14 seats in Saskatchewan and one of 28 seats in Alberta.

Mr. Herle also said there is a "paradigm shift" in British Columbia, and said, "B.C. could move to us," according to one source.

The Liberals have eight of 36 seats in that province, but always show strength between elections. The party never seems to be able to convert that strength to seats on election day.

Without polling numbers, Herle's speculations and $1.50 will buy a large double-double at Tim Horton's. As will mine, but I don't have the PMO's vast resources to work with. What's Herle's excuse?

What he's describing is the perfect storm, which requires everything to go right for the Liberals during a six-week campaign, while the Conservative and NDP campaigns implode on day one.

The 24 Ontario Tory seats fall in almost all the same areas that stayed Tory in the 2003 provincial election, an election that everyone knew the Tories would lose. These are bedrock seats that would require the Conservatives to split back into two separate parties before they'd be lost.

The increasingly vicious rhetoric towards the West, and the growth in at least lukewarm separatist sentiment there, makes it fallow ground for the Liberals outside, perhaps, of Vancouver. The B.C. Interior is no less hostile to the Liberals than the rest of the West; there are no gains to be found there.

Herle apparently thinks he can re-run last election's strategy to win a majority:

Mr. Herle said, too, that the Martin Liberals have to keep the Conservatives "marginalized on the right," an insider said.

The Liberals also need to be solid on economic issues and keep the social conservatives in a "box," the source said. He said they also must play to the "10 per cent of the centre left" who swing between the Liberals and the NDP.

Voters are going to be looking for someone to blame high gas prices and even higher taxes on, especially if the Ontario manufacturing sector tanks as feared. Is that going to be the Tories, who masterminded some conspiracy to raise crude oil prices to record highs so Alberta could swim in the wealth while Ontario drowned?

The recent marriage debate showed that the Liberals, not the Conservatives, were the most deeply divided party. Even if it's a dead political issue, socially conservative Liberals must be left wondering if there's any place for them in the Liberal Party anymore.

The only party feeling any real squeeze here is the NDP--its reliance on the same wacko anti-war, anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-everybody fringe has already pushed those sensible supporters to the Liberals already. The Green Party is here to stay; it's stabilized at about 5% support nationwide, not enough to win seats, but enough to build a shelter for the rest of the NDP vote.

Herle's strategy, against a jury-rigged Tory party and with Paul Martin firmly in command of the party, barely produced a minority last time. Now Quebec and the West are more firmly entrenched against the Liberals than ever, and the Tories have come together with a coherent policy and platform.

His pep talk won't produce a majority.

But if it does, the country will be that much closer to falling apart.

Source: Globe and Mail

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 10

CBC Unplugged is running podcasts put together by locked-out CBC employees. Which raises this question: if they can still do the job without the CBC's vast infrastructure behind them, what are they spending $1 billion of the taxpayers' money every year on it for?

One celebrated New York film critic once expressed surprise that Ronald Reagan was elected president because nobody they knew voted for him.

Over here in the right-wing blogosphere, we're surprised that somebody misses the CBC because nobody we know watches or listens to it.

Mark Blevis does miss the CBC, severely, and he's made his own CBC podcast to help him through this crisis.

Paul Martin refuses to intervene in the lockout, but you can bet that if there's an election in the offing and the CBC is still locked out, either the feds will step in or both sides will suddenly reach an agreement. The alternative, an election fought without CBC's steady stream of anti-Conservative propaganda, is too frightening for either the CBC or Paul Martin to contemplate.

Rae Days Redux

The bad news is not that Bob Rae is being courted not only to run for the federal Liberals, but also to succeed Paul Martin.

The bad news is that Ontarians might be so blindly bigoted towards Albertans that given the choice between Stephen Harper and the man who nearly bankrupted the province, they'll take the latter.

Better our boob than their Nazi?

Source: Toronto Star

30 Day Guarantee

Or our money back?

Surely the Grits aren't afraid of trudging through a few snowbanks in -40 windchills to convince the voters to give them a fifth straight mandate to fulfill the unkept promises of the previous four?

Or will they just blame the Tories for forcing people to go out in the cold because of an election they don't want?

First the complaint was that people don't want an election in the summer. Now they don't want one in the winter, although Paul Martin wants to make it perfectly clear that a post-Gomery report election is his number one priority!

Source: CBC (Locked out for laughs!)

Stormy Weather

Here's another source of discontent for Central Canada towards Alberta: it's hogging all the good weather!

It's high time Ottawa addressed the meteorological imbalance with a National Weather Program to transfer the West's sunny days under the big sky to the fogbound, smogbound East!

Rob Ralph To Pay Dalton

As oil prices keep rising, Alberta rolls in the money while Ontario feels the pinch.

So what's the solution? National Energy Program the Sequel!

Ontario is in jeopardy of becoming a have-not province as a result of the funding shortfall between what it contributes to the federal treasury and what it receives from Ottawa, a report to be released today warns.

The very title of the report -- Fairness in Confederation. Fiscal Imbalance: Driving Ontario to "Have Not" Status -- raises provocative questions about a province long considered one of the country's wealthiest.

The report, prepared by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, will likely provide provincial Premier Dalton McGuinty with fresh ammunition in his campaign to wrest more money from Ottawa. He has argued that the gap between what Ontarians pay in taxes to the federal government and what they get back in programs and services has swelled to $23-billion from $2-billion in 1995.

The release of the report comes just as there is growing unease in Ontario over the cash windfall Alberta is reaping from soaring world energy prices. But while government officials in Ontario would welcome a debate on the challenges Alberta's overflowing coffers pose for Confederation, they are leery of sparking a potentially divisive debate.


Alberta is enjoying the best of times because it happens to be sitting on vast oil deposits. Its surplus is expected to soar to $7-billion, four times higher than the province's official figure, thanks to the money flowing in from crude and natural-gas royalties. It has prompted a province-wide debate on how to spend the surplus, with the government even considering eliminating corporate taxes altogether. Oil prices are hovering above $65 (U.S.) a barrel, 50-per-cent higher than Alberta's official estimate.

By comparison, Ontario is struggling with a $2.8-billion deficit and a growth rate that lags behind the national average. To make matters worse, every time oil prices go up, manufacturers in Ontario are hurt because their operating costs increase.

The very title of this report underscores the growing threat to Canadian unity that Ontario's arrogance towards the West has become. The underlying assumption is that the natural order has been upset, and that Alberta must restore it by sending its windfall to Ontario.

The West still hasn't forgotten how it got swindled by the National Energy Program as oil prices began freefalling from the moment it was implemented. It's had 25 more years of grievances and insults from Central Canada to stoke the burning fires of resentment.

Paul Martin will almost certainly address the issue of fiscal imbalance by proclaiming wealth redistribution as another Canadian value, and demonizing Alberta and the Tories again in Ontario as a bunch of greedy rednecks.

Alberta's response?

Let the Eastern bastards freeze in the dark. For good!

Source: Globe and Mail

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

It Pays To Advertise

The Conservative Party has released four new TV ads to be aired only in Ontario as a test run for the upcoming election campaign.

The ads show Stephen Harper talking with his MP's on four key issues: opportunity for new Canadians, lower taxes, choice in child care and health care for all.

They might look a little hokey, but they get the point across without hitting the viewer over the head. If the aim is to dispel the image of Stephen Harper as cold and scary, they work quite well. Especially because they show Mr. Harper doing what he does best: talking policy. He looks much more comfortable in those ads than he ever did on the barbecue circuit.

It also helps to showcase the other MPs, to take all the focus and pressure off Mr. Harper as the party's sole spokesman. And hey, you can't go wrong with Helena Guergis and Rona Ambrose.


It's time for Paul Martin to dip into the three or five or eight or however many billion dollar surplus and start paying protection money again to the NDP, because John Efford is about to quit and take the government with him:

Opposition parties and political malcontents are threatening to bring down the Liberals when Parliament returns this fall unless Prime Minister Paul Martin tailors the agenda of his minority government to their policy demands.

The New Democratic Party and several Independent MPs are the latest to sound the alarm and their voices could carry increasing clout if Natural Resources Minister John Efford, who has diabetes, elects to quit politics -- a decision he is expected to make in the coming weeks.

Mr. Efford's resignation would further weaken the Liberals' hand in the House of Commons' numbers game and could lead to an early election.

As the Liberals begin a three-day caucus meeting, political appeasement and developing a survival strategy that will see them through to an election promised for early 2006, rank high on the government's agenda.

But the shopping list of demands is already growing and could include: a long-term fix to the so-called fiscal imbalance between Ottawa and the provinces; greater military involvement in Sudan's Darfur region; stricter rules to guide proposed bank mergers; electoral reform; changes to the Canada Pension Plan; and increased financial aid for Western cattle farmers.

There's something for everyone in that grab bag, mostly for the NDP however, but also a bone that Paul Martin hopes those Alberta troglodytes will chew on to shut them up about "Western alienization".

But to send troops to Sudan to keep David Kilgour onside--to send them without proper equipment, support, on an ill-defined mission to keep the tattered peacekeeping flag flying--is not merely a waste of money; it's a cynical abuse of our Armed Forces.

Soldiers who could be sent to the Arctic to enforce our sovereignty over Hans Island and the Northwest Passage are getting wasted on an exercise that will do nothing to stop the genocide in Sudan.

But who cares for the long-term effects on Canada's territorial integrity, as long as the Liberals stay in office for another day?

Anyway, here's the numbers that really count:

In the event of a confidence vote, it would appear those gunning for an election have the upper hand. The Bloc and Conservatives, who tried to defeat the government in the spring, have a combined 152 MPs. The Liberals have 133 MPs -- including the Speaker who only votes in the case of a tie -- and could vie for the support of the 19 NDP seats again. But if Mr. Efford does resign, something he will reportedly decide by the end of the month, the opposition would have a two-vote advantage. The July death of Chuck Cadman -- whose vote saved the Liberal government in May -- leaves one vacancy in the 308-seat Commons.

If Chuck Strahl's cancer worsens, his resignation or death will cancel out John Efford's resignation. Our country's future is now riding on such morbid calculations. How the hell did we ever get in such a state?

Source: National Post

The Blob

Here comes the Blob! Swim for your lives!

Scientists will begin probing waters off Nova Scotia in search of a slimy creature they believe is slithering north and could be blanketing some of Canada’s richest fishing grounds.
Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey plan to head out today to a vast area over the Canadian portion of Georges Bank to look for a colony of sea squirts nicknamed the Blob for its icky texture and habit of covering almost everything in its path.

“It’s something new. It covers up the bottom and it forms a barrier between fish and what fish feed on, so logically you’d think it could be a problem,” said Page Valentine, a scientist with the agency. “At some point, it could get so pervasive that everybody will realize we’ve got a problem out there, and it’ll be too late.”

Valentine discovered the organism, a simple tunicate with no skeleton that filters plankton, in 2002 on the U.S. side of Georges Bank. He returned in 2003 and found that it was covering an area of at least 15 square kilometres. A year later, a thick carpet of the porridge-like goop had spread over more than 104 square kilometres.

Source: Halifax Daily News

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 9

There was a time when CBC Sports announcers fluorescent orange blazers were the hallmark of excellence in Canadian sports broadcasting.

No more.

In the 500-channel universe, specialty broadcasters have long since left CBC in the dust, as Mark Spector notes in his National Post column :

The fact that CBC management did not have the confidence to simply step aside and allow another broadcaster to handle its CFL commitments marks another in a growing string of poor decisions being made at Mothercorp.

There was the curling fiasco last winter, a misstep based on the self-important notion that an allegiance to the CBC would coax curling fans to order digital cable service, drop $200-$300 on the necessary equipment, and then order the obscure specialty channel Country Canada on which CBC hid some of its curling.

There was the firing of the highly respected voice Chris Cuthbert, a move that told Canadians, "We're good enough to be able to toss the best play-by-play man in Canada out the door." But while one man may not be bigger than the team in sports, the opposite is true in sports broadcasting. And Cuthbert was welcomed by CBC Sports' chief competitor, which would be like the Montreal Canadiens waiving Jose Theodore and watching Ottawa snap him up.

There's an ageing cast of characters that CBC has held on to, led by the hockey broadcast team of Bob Cole and Harry Neale who, God bless them, have become house men for the Toronto Maple Leafs, seemingly unable to muster even close to the same enthusiasm for any other NHL team. So much has grown stale: Don Cherry and Ron MacLean, the once-great tandem whose act has gone unchanged forever; a cast of CBC play-by-play men in various sports who covered Nancy Greene and Kenny Ploen; and the camera angles -- once CBC trademarks -- that have become ruts in which a network is stuck.

When Hockey Night in Canada goes over to Bell Globemedia, as one day it surely will, it'll be game over for CBC Sports. And without sports, CBC will sink to the bottom of the BBM ratings and collect barnacles, unless a miracle happens and some future government actually forces a complete overhaul.

In other lockout-related stories:

Dan Misener raises the $64,000 question about alternative programming from locked-out CBC workers: if they can do the job without the CBC's vast resources, what need do we have of the CBC?

The Tea Makers gives us the anonymous voice of a union-friendly CBC manager. The manager's plaintive plea: "You guys may be locked out, but I'm locked in!" (Like the Black Hole of Calcutta, only worse.)

CBC Negotiations cuts through the crap and gets to the point: nobody's losing their jobs, and opening a few more jobs to contract employees means even more security for current full-timers.

By the sounds of it, CBC's contract employees are hardly second-class serfs; they get the full line of CBC pay and benefits, and many of them end up as permanent employees. So what's the downside?

Killer Karla Hates Canada

Michaelle Jean refuses to tell us whether she's ever voted for separatism.

But Karla Homolka is not so reticent!

Karla Homolka blames police, the media, politics and "crazy" Ontarians for her current plight.

She is so angry at Ontario and Canada that she voted for the Bloc Quebecois in the last federal election. She even blames the Quebec judge who gave her 14 release conditions -- two of which she is now alleged to have broken.

And Homolka said that Quebec prosecutors are now just as "pissed" at Ontario as she is.

For openness and integrity on the Quebec question: Homolka 1, Jean 0. This makes her no less qualified than Mme. Jean to be GG, according to Liberal political calculations.

There's a dirty negative campaign ad in here, for someone ballsy enough to try it.

Source: Ottawa Sun

Monday, August 22, 2005

Ipsos-Reid: Doing Donuts On The Lawn

The latest Ipsos-Reid poll shows almost no movement from the 2004 election results:

The federal Liberals have not been able to capitalize on image problems that have plagued Conservative Leader Stephen Harper to boost their standing in the polls, a new survey suggests.

The proportion of Canadians who would vote for the Liberals is 36%, up a notch from a previous survey in June, and still only eight points ahead of the Conservatives, whose support also edged up a point to 28%, according to a new Ipsos Reid poll provided exclusively to CanWest/Global.

The Liberals will need to do something -- such as give voters a pre-election budget of tax cuts and other goodies -- if they are to escape minority status in the next election, said Ipsos Reid President Darrell Bricker.


The poll results are are not much different from those released prior to the June, 2004 election, when the Liberals took 37% of the vote, the Conservatives 30%, the NDP 16%, the Bloc 12%, and the Green Party 4%.

"But the poll also indicates that this summer has a rare occurrence -- a substantial rise in the proportion of undecided voters," Ipsos Reid said.

Nearly one in five Canadians -- 19%, up from 13% in June -- say they are undecided, refuse to say for whom they would vote, or would not vote if a federal election were held tomorrow. That includes 22% in Quebec, up from 13% in June.

Stephen Harper has had everything thrown at him since Paul Martin's government survived its near-death experience back in May. The media turned up the heat when it appeared he might bring down the government, then cranked it to 11 in the hope his failure might lead to him being forced out.

But everything that might have been expected to lead to a complete collapse--Belinda Stronach's defection, Tapegate, OLO staff purges--has passed from the public mind as swiftly as Adscam and the Gomery inquiry did once testimony wrapped up.

But none of these things can come back to haunt Harper in meaningful way when Parliament reconvenes and the public drifts back from the cottage to focus on politics again.

Adscam will, as Gomery gets closer to issuing his report and the opposition hammers on it.

Paul Martin was effectively MIA during the summer, except to empty a clip in his foot with the appointment of Michaelle Jean as governor general. He could have used his absence to allow the Liberals to build up the usual soft summertime default lead, then called an election on a feel-good fall budget.

Stephen Harper's barbecue circuit tour was effectively a wash; it did nothing to hurt or help him. The media exaggerated its importance (when did such a tour ever send a leader's approval ratings skyrocketing?) and it was rather foolish of us to think that it would have made the public as a whole think better of him.

Nothing has really changed, and while it's bad news for the Tories today, it's even worse news for the Grits in the longer run.

The Bloc Quebecois stands athwart hopes for a Liberal majority, and will be fixed there once Gomery finally reports. There are no seats to be picked up out West, and they will never win more than what they currently have in Ontario and the Maritimes; the Tory seats there form the unshakable core.

Jack Layton, having extracted his pound of flesh, will not stand by when the proverbial hits the fan from Gomery, not for another confidence vote, not for another budget.

Paul Martin has nothing new left in his bag of tricks. There is nowhere left to go, but down.

Source: National Post

Chuck Strahl

Chuck Strahl has been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Please keep him and his family in your prayers.

Marriage Breakup

These two men came together to make a mockery of one of our country's most treasured and time-honoured institutions.

The government and media told us that we had no choice but to accept it, indeed celebrate it, even if the majority of the people opposed the idea.

They claimed to be coming together in a mutually loving and supporting union, but they were really only using each other to get a few benefits.

Now their partnership is over, but the damage is done.

Source: 580 CFRA

Coin Of The Realm

Never underestimate the power of government to come up with costly and impractical solutions to problems of a secondary nature:

The federal government has backed off from a proposal to replace Canada's $5 paper currency with a more economical $5 coin and use the savings to help fund the country's Olympic athletes.

The offbeat suggestion, first raised by the Royal Canadian Mint, was taken seriously enough by the Finance Department that it commissioned a polling firm last spring to conduct a focus-group study.


Participants reacted strongly when asked whether Canadian athletes headed to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver should benefit from the currency switch: "Give me a break! There are so many other burning issues where the money could be spent."

"I'm embarrassed to be Canadian sometimes."

"Do you freaking believe this?"

It's true that coins are cheaper than bills over the long run, since they last longer and don't need to be replaced as often. But coins are much more inconvenient to carry around than bills and easier to lose between the seat cushions.

Is the Department of Finance trying to convince Canadians of the benefits of a cashless society by making cash less convenient to carry around?

Note how many stores are refusing to take $50 and $100 bills because so many counterfeit notes are passing around. When the Bank of Canada phased out the $1000 bill to fight money laundering, crooks simply switched to bigger rolls of hundreds and fifties.

A $5 coin would almost force us to carry around coin changers like waiters just to go to the corner store.

In any event, tying the $5 coin's debut to Olympic athletes' funding--more metal for more medals--just would have made the $5 coin look like an even more foolish idea than it is.

Put it all together and it almost looks like a stealth program to make Canadians switch to debit cards (or microchips implanted in the forehead) by making them fed up with cash money.


Source: The Globe and Mail

Northwest Passage

The Daily Telegraph reports that the Liberal government is showing signs of realizing that government's primary role is to defend the sovereignty of Canada, after all:

Canadian warships were sailing towards the Arctic yesterday in the latest act of gunboat diplomacy over control of the frozen wastes there.

Ottawa has launched a series of Arctic sovereignty patrols to assert its territorial claims and fend off rivals, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States.


The Canadian programme hit high gear yesterday as the frigate Fredricton sailed towards the contested Davis Strait separating Greenland and north-east Canada. Two coastal defence vessels, meanwhile, have visited the port of Churchill for the first time in 30 years and have set sail for the upper Hudson Bay.

"This is a demonstration of Canada's will to exercise sovereignty over our own back yard," said Cdre Bob Blakely, of the Royal Canadian Navy.


The military, meanwhile, is not ideally equipped for the brutal conditions of the far north. Although it is expanding its Arctic command base at Yellowknife, the navy lacks sufficient capacity to plough through the pack ice.

Critics say that this explains why the Canadian authorities have chosen the summer months to undertake their sovereignty patrols.

A military exercise in the Arctic last year was termed an "embarrassing debacle" by the Toronto Star newspaper because of harsh weather and poor equipment.

The defence of Canadian territory is not a seasonal job, unfortunately. Claimants to our Arctic waters know our military's weakness in this regard and will take advantage of it in the winter, now that we've made the first steps in asserting our claims.

At a minimum, the Canadian Navy should be able to sail a frigate with icebreaking capability through the thickest winter pack ice. The Army should be able to keep a couple dozen men on Hans Island and provision them year-round, if need be, to assert our rightful possession thereof.

We need enough hard power to show that we can and will defend our sovereignty over the Arctic against all comers, to back up the soft power that will allow us to prevail in the diplomatic realm.

Showing the flag is about more than hiring ad agencies to stick up a few billboards.

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 8

Knowlton Nashweighs in with his fears for the future of CBC, wondering whether it's time to say "GOOD NIGHT!" to the beleaguered public broadcaster.

Let's look at the numbers, then:

CBC TV, and its all-news sister station Newsworld, currently have an audience of about eight to nine per cent of English-language viewers.

But about 40 per cent of viewers watching Canadian programming do so on the two CBC channels - a task that became more difficult last fall, winter and spring because CBC filled its empty Hockey Night in Canada hours with aging Hollywood movies.

CBC radio networks One and Two are heard by 10 per cent of the listening audiences, but its local programming, where it exists, regularly grabs larger audiences. In Ottawa, for instance, CBC radio's morning and afternoon magazine shows regularly vie for top spot in the ratings.

With less than 10% of the overall English-language market but 40% of all Canadian programming viewers, it looks as if CBC-TV's viewership numbers are getting held up by sports.

Look at the flip side, though: 60% of Canadian programming viewers are watching something other than CBC. So the main argument of CBC's most passionate defenders--the extinction of Canadian programming without CBC--doesn't hold water.

There's also a lesson for CBC in its strong morning and afternoon drive shows: you're all that's left for people who don't want to listen to DJ drivel in rush hour. For now. Satellite radio is on the way.

Leave more of your programming power in local hands the way PBS and NPR do, and local listeners and viewers will come.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

No Place For A Warrior

The Canadian myth of the kinder, gentler, peacekeeping army has claimed another casualty:

Canadian Forces sniper who set a distance record by killing an al-Qaida fighter from more than two kilometres away has quit in frustration and may go into mercenary work.

Master Cpl. Arron Perry made national headlines twice in 2002: the first was anonymous, after he shot an al-Qaida fighter in Afghanistan from 2,430 metres, a world record.

The second was public and ugly. Perry, 33, and a 13-year veteran, was accused of discreditable conduct after he allegedly cut the finger off an al-Qaida corpse, defecated on another and then had his picture taken with a corpse that had a lit cigarette hanging from his lips and a sign around his neck reading "F**k Terrorism."

The investigation was eventually dropped and no charges were ever laid, but Perry's reputation was left in tatters.

A military ombudsman's investigation was launched into whether Perry and other snipers, who were seconded to an American unit to provide cover fire and support, were unfairly treated after their return from Afghanistan.

Five of the snipers received the Bronze Star from the U.S. military for their efforts, which included killing about 20 members of al-Qaida.

If you want to see the difference between the traditional warrior ethos and the peacekeeper ethos, look no further than Aaron Perry.

The U.S. Army saw a hero and gave him a medal.

The Canadian Army saw a troublemaker and gave him grief.

The best comment on the Aaron Perry saga I've seen comes from a poster on the Sniper Country website (expletives not deleted for context):

M/Cpl Aaron Perry - the Cdn Sniper from 3rd BN PPLCI (the one you mentioned) is more in shit more because he told a Padre (Chaplain) to fuck off than anything else.

At their OP there was a dead Tali and a sign was written on it "FUCK TERRORISM".

M/CPL Perry had already been recommened by US forces for the BSV for his action in theatre.

The Padre approached and commented on the sign on the body.

Aaron (from my understanding) then said "Fuck off"

He was then sent home from A'stan, and has been sitting around here, awaitimg his fate.

From my shoes - nothing he has done is wrong. And yes HE IS GETTING THE SHITTY END OF THE STICK - As the CF appears willign to hanging him out for fear of looking like it is covering up something (circa Somalia March 93)

If this was a peacetime drill - yeah telling a Capt (regardless of trade) to F off would be wrong - but it was not a peacetime trg ex...

Take Everything in context before you pass sentence.

Would we rather have M/Cpl Perry as a mercenary killing for some African tyrant or Colombian drug lord, or fighting for Queen and country? Guess the brass have given us and him our answer.

Source: Edmonton Sun

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 7

A lot of CBC folk cut their teeth on campus radio, where they not only picked up valuable broadcasting skills but also many of their political opinions.

And now, campus radio is welcoming them home by giving locked-out journos a place to ply their craft during the interim.

CBC Unplugged reports that campus radio stations in Vancouver will run Radio Zero , and the University of Calgary's station will run a similar current affairs program, according to Dan Misener.

For CBC Radio junkies missing their fix, it's a godsend. For CBC Radio haters, the upside is that campus stations tend to be low wattage, thus sparing the suburbs and countryside.

Anything to keep them out of trouble!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 6.2

Tod Maffin's I Love Radio is reporting that locked-out CBC workers are setting up an Internet site to podcast news and current affairs programming.

As much as I don't miss them and their product, I have to give them credit for doing something productive instead of marching around on picket lines.

It might also force management to up the ante and improve its programming in the interim if they lose viewers and listeners to the guerrilla station. And if they don't, they can figure out that they've been paying these people to do jack all these years, fire the lot and start again.

In any event, watching CBC's arrogant management take on an equally arrogant Canadian Media Guild will provide hours of family entertainment.

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 6.1

When I read Curtis Brown's Brandon Sun op-ed, I was transported a decade back in time to my years at an Industry-Respected Journalism School.

I too was taught by professors who had worked for years at the CBC and thought it was the sine qua non of Canadian broadcasting, even of the Canadian national identity itself. I also was caught up in the same sterile debates about whether journalists were debased by mucking about with the technicians' work, as if we were part of an officer corps who could not be seen fraternizing with the enlisted men.

Many of these debates ended up turning me off journalism altogether. This blog is about as close to the field as I ever hope to come again.

Curtis Brown is right: CBC employees have a sweet deal compared to most of their private sector colleagues, who do more work for less pay. Why should they be protected from the realities of working life?

We all talked about becoming great freelancers when we were in school. Few of us had the stomach to survive the uncertainty and gravitated towards PR jobs instead. Perhaps with this lockout, we'll find out who's really cut for broadcasting and who isn't.

Belinda Bucks

If there's a silver lining in the cloud over the Conservative Party that was Belinda Stronach, it's that she wasted her $4 million of her own money on her run for the leadership instead of fleecing everybody else.

She still owes us about $380,000 though. Guess she'll have to cancel her next shopping trip to Paris.

Source: The Globe & Mail

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 6

Antonia Zerbisias is by no means beloved of all the Blogging Tories, but her blog has an excellent post about how locked-out CBC journalists and technicians are taking the fight to the blogosphere and podcasting.

This battle could not possibly have been fought on the airwaves in the pre-Internet era, because pirate broadcasting was largely the domain of a few amateur radio enthusiasts who were keeping one step ahead of the law.

Now we can find out what both sides are really thinking instead of the recycled press releases from appointed spokesmen as talks go on behind closed doors. It helps put abstract issues about contracting out and suchlike into a human perspective when we hear and read from the people who actually have to live with the outcome.

But I can't help but think if the podcasting journos understand the irony of their situation. They're fighting to maintain an ironclad bureaucratic broadcasting regime against an army of freelancers, contractors and independent broadcasters, using the very same methods and technologies that imperil their position.

Check out CBC Unplugged for a sample Fredericton podcast.

The Gospel According To John

The MSM usually regarded John Crosbie as something of a buffoon, the goofy Newfie when he was in office.

But when they needed a big name from the Mulroney years to attack Stephen Harper, suddenly he became a respected elder statesman:

A "pessimistic" Crosbie is predicting hard times in the next election for his party, warning that Harper is scaring voters by linking his leadership to the campaign against same-sex marriages while heeding lousy advice from his inner circle.

OK, you're probably saying, so what? Crosbie's a 74-year-old political curiosity, best known as the former Conservative finance minister whose 1979 budget torpedoed Joe Clark's minority government a few lifetimes ago to the average voter.

But Crosbie still commands attention and respect in the reunited Conservative party, where only 15 months ago he was a huge Harper booster who flirted briefly with the bizarre notion of running against Liberal cabinet minister John Efford before his long-suffering spouse vetoed such silliness.

And he's got a well-earned national reputation as the sort of fearless observer who blurts out the hard truths everybody else is thinking but is too timid to say out loud.

John Crosbie's criticism can be boiled down to the same, tired old advice we've been getting from the Toronto media elites: Stephen Harper's too cold, the party has to move to the middle, muzzle the so-cons, etc., etc.

The Conservative Party will never win the affection of the Toronto media elites, even if it became a carbon copy of the Liberal Party.

But we don't need the love and affection of the chattering classes if we go over their heads directly to the people with a vision.

People know that Canada is not living up to its potential, and that we're paying too much tax for too little return.

What's needed is a vision as captivating as Pierre Trudeau's ultimately destructive Just Society was at the time. And that vision has to be a positive one with a coherent conservative message, both fiscally and socially.

The American conservative movement did it. So can we.

Friday, August 19, 2005

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 5.1

Lister Sinclair express his ideas about the lockout.

Brandon Sun columnist James O'Connor reminds us that there's no downside to the lockout:

It will be a breath of fresh air to perhaps hear some proper reporting on the Conservative opposition, and some objective views on our southern neighbour and largest trading partner. You see, one of Mother Corp’s favourite whipping boys — second only to Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper — is United States President George Bush.

If the CBC strike drags on for a few week or months, I bet an objective pollster would find the fortunes of the Grits and Dippers slipping as the nation relies on more objective private broadcasters for their information. In fact, I can’t see how long Prime Minister Paul Martin will allow the labour dispute to continue. For sure he will discreetly demand it end before the Sept. 26 installation of his handpicked political operative to the Governor General’s office.

And the ski slopes in Hell must be packed because I find myself agreeing with the Canadian Labour Congress:

"The last budget gave the CBC new funding to put towards better service. Rather than using that money for better programming, it's being wasted on advertising at the competition! It's being used to promote an agenda that insults its workers and fails the CBC audience, as well as its mandate," insists (CLC president Ken) Georgetti.

According to Georgetti, the CBC is supposed to be a public broadcaster, a national symbol to showcase Canada's culture, it's people and our values. Those managers in Toronto and their bosses in Ottawa should be setting a higher standard.

"When the CBC claims that telling our own peoples' stories and promoting our own country's culture is no longer a worthwhile career path, then something is truly wrong," says Georgetti.

Our Men In Afghanistan

Carolyn Parrish had to be sedated when she heard the news:

Canadian soldiers fired their first shots in self-defence on Thursday since arriving in the volatile southern Afghan province of Kandahar late last month.

Troops were patrolling the streets during the country's Independence Day celebrations when a van tried to overtake their convoy from behind.

A military spokesman has said there were concerns that the driver might be a suicide bomber so a gunner fired four rounds into the vehicle's engine block to disable it.

According to initial reports, no one is believed to have been injured during the incident.

How long before the usual suspects start screaming for our troops to be brought home because somebody might get killed over there?

Source: CTV

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 5

If it weren't for CBC Sports, hardly anyone would be watching CBC. And it looks like hardly anyone will, given CBC Sports' recent woes, as Toronto Star's Chris Zelkovich notes:

Could anything more go wrong for the public broadcaster's toy department this year? Okay, there are still four months left.

But one might have answered no in February after the CBC lost the Olympics, watched helplessly as the NHL playoffs were cancelled and weathered the protests created by disjointed curling coverage and the firing of Chris Cuthbert.

Then along came the Canadian Curling Association's decision to walk away form its contract and this week's lockout that has all but paralyzed the operation.

Not all of this is the CBC's fault, but the CBC has nobody to blame for its decision to lock out workers, thus killing coverage of tennis, the Canada Games and who knows what more.

It's also the one that decided to continue CFL broadcasts despite the fact it kicked out its camera operators, directors, technicians and announcers.

Whether it's arrogance or desperation, this could be a disaster waiting to happen.

The CBC is paying the price for taking its cash cow for granted. Its bizarre decision to hand off key Brier draws to the unwatched Country Canada digital channel, its cavalier treatment of the Canada Games, and various PR disasters surrounding its hockey coverage (firing Chris Cuthbert, putting Don Cherry on seven-second tape delay and nearly losing straight man Ron MacLean)--all indicate that CBC Sports is still acting as if it's 1965 and CBC is the only game in town.

If CBC Sports disbanded tomorrow, CTV would bulldoze its Saturday night lineup to make way for Hockey Night in Canada, Global would beef up for an Olympics bid, and the cable channels would pick up everything else.

A revamped TVO or PBS-style CBC would have no place for sports, but the sporting world would hardly mourn CBC Sports' passing.

Source: CBC Watch

Citizen Kidder

Strange. You'd think with all these liberal Democrats wanting to hightail it across the border to Canada to flee the fascist warmongering Bushitler regime that Margot Kidder would do the same:

Actor Margot Kidder became a U.S. citizen Wednesday to avoid possible deportation to her native Canada when she begins protesting the war in Iraq, she said.

Kidder, best known for playing Lois Lane in the 1978 movie Superman and three sequels, was among 19 people who became citizens during a naturalization ceremony in Butte federal court.

"It means I can vote against anyone and everyone in elected office that in any way supported the Bush administration," said Kidder, 56, who has lived in the United States for 34 years and has a home in Livingston, Mont.

Margot must have been hiding behind the woodpile when she came up with this idea. The only reason she has to fear being deported would be if she'd fraudulently obtained citizenship for the purpose of committing criminal acts; protesting the Iraq war isn't one of them.

But what an inflated sense of importance she has! As if the U.S. government gave a damn about some washed-up actress' foreign policy opinions.

Source: London Free Press

Thursday, August 18, 2005

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 4

Inuit listeners in the Far North will not be receiving CBC broadcasts in Inuktitut during the lockout, a serious inconvenience to Inuit who don't speak or understand English.

Perhaps the CBC could track down this guy, since he did such a great job during the last "She Be She" strike.

Source: Nunatsiaq News

By The Company You Keep

The Cindy Sheehan vigil/protest/media circus has won broad support from the usual left-wing anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-American activists.

What may surprise some is the support she's been getting from the far right, as ben Johnson noted in his Front Page Magazine article:

Leading the parade is none other than "former" Klansman David Duke. Duke recently authored the article, "Why Cindy Sheehan is Right!" in which the "fiery" politician criticizes an article written by little ol’ me. The convicted fraud writes, "A recent article on David Horowitz’s FrontPage [Magazine] and repeated by many pro-Israel zealots dares to compare her with that incorrigible American, me." It is true in my article I stated Sheehan’s over-the-top rhetoric "echoes the line being taken by David Duke and his ilk at their most recent recruiting website," – a point Duke concedes. On his August 14 web broadcast, the alleged plastic surgery aficionado read an e-mail Cindy Sheehan sent to the producer of Ted Koppel’s "Nightline," in which she wrote:

my first born was murdered. Am I angry? Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC [Project for a New American Century] Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel.

After reading these words, Duke exclaimed, "Boy, it sounds exactly like the things I’ve been writing, doesn’t it?" Other commentators agreed.


Thanks to the internet, Sheehan’s popularity among the armband brigades is spreading like fire creeping up a moonlit cross. On the web’s premier hate website,, Duke supporter James Kelso (whose screen name is "Charles A. Lindbergh") posted a link to a video message from Cindy Sheehan entitled, "Mr. President, you lied to us."

Cindy is also popular at the American Nationalist Union. ANU is run by Don Wassall, former national chairman of the Populist Party, a racist third party organized in 1984 by Willis Carto’s Liberty Lobby; in 1988, the party nominated David Duke for president. ANU’s Nationalist News section links to four articles supporting Cindy Sheehan, including a delightful link to an article on Justin Raimondo’s Hate America Right website about Christopher Hitchens: "Drink-Soaked Trotskyite Popinjay Slimes Antiwar Mom "

Duke is not the only figure on the White Wing to embrace Sheehan. The explicitly Nazi National Socialist Movement backs her, as well. NSM "Commander" Jeff Schoep entitled one recent radio broadcast "NSM SUPPORTS CINDY SHEEHAN," then devoted a second broadcast to Sheehan the next day.

The far left and the far right have found common cause in their hatred of the Jewish people and Israel. Both groups play right into the hands of the Islamists who regard them as a valuable fifth column in the West.

The far left has little trouble fighting alongside an Islamic political movement that is otherwise anathema to their "progressive" politics. Radical feminists praise mullahs who subject women to slavery and anti-war pacificists support the bloody depredations of Islamic terrorists. These self-styled anti-racists will feel no shame praising Klansmen and neo-Nazis, as long as they hate the Jews.

Evil embraces its own.